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News/Business. Chris Hansen, Hoda Kotb, Josh Mankiewicz. (2012) A woman's spray tan may have caused her death. (CC) (Stereo)

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Lina 31, Adam Kaufman 12, Us 7, Angulo 7, Miami 5, Anthony Angulo 3, Kathleen Hoge 3, Lina Kaufman 3, Lester Holt 3, Adam 3, Anna Howell 3, Mr. Kaufman 3, Visine 3, Florida 3, Washington 3, Sc Johnson 2, Seth Kaufman 2, Foreman 2, New Listerine Ultraclean 2, Romney 2,
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  NBC    Dateline NBC    News/Business. Chris Hansen, Hoda Kotb, Josh Mankiewicz.   
   (2012) A woman's spray tan may have caused her death. (CC)...  

    September 24, 2012
    2:00 - 2:59am PDT  

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total shock and disbelief. i mean, this is not happening. am i having a nightmare? >> it was so sudden. >> please, please. my wife is in the bathroom dying. i don't know what's going on. >> that moment in engrained in my memory. time stood still. >> a wife and mom collapsed and gone. >> and i go to run to her and she's cold. >> her death baffled the experts. a heart attack, a seizure, could it have been her new tan? >> it was the first time she got a spray tan and she passed away a few hours later. >> finally investigators had an answer. this mystery, they said, was murder. >> we were in complete shock. >> curious evidence. >> suspicious markings on her
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neck. >> strange behavior. >> he went from hysterical to calm. >> the trial had everything. exploding emotions, a secret affair. >> did you have an affair? >> yes, and my husband is well aware of it. >> even an identical twin. five years of suspicion comes down to one moment. >> we the jury -- >> i don't think that anyone could imagine what it's like to love someone so much and then be charged with their murder. it's unfathomable. >> a cliff-hanger of a case. "in an instant." thanks for joining us. i'm lester holt. the papers called it the spray tan murder trial. but could a spray tan really be to blame for a young mother's puzzling death? the questions in this case started early one morning with a dramatic call for help and ended
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five years later with an equally dramatic verdict in court. here's keith morrison. >> the story when it hit the news sounded almost crazy. >> killed by a spray tan. >> claiming his wife died after an allergic reaction to a spray tan. >> a husband tried to blame her death on a spray tan and thus a myth was born. the case of the spray tan defense, what a headline. it was a strange tale. it was true that a spray tan did briefly play a role at the heart of what sounded like murder. but the real story, headlines don't always tell it, do they? the true story of what happened here in miami was far more troubling, tragic, and bizarre than any headline. and it all happened so fast. >> business was good. beautiful house, great friends, and then it changed in an instant. like that. like that. >> to begin with, there was
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aventura. a brand new town, an upscale suburb with green lawns and trophy boats that skirts the northern fringe of miami. among the founding families in this clean new place was the kaufman clan. migrants a generation ago, jerry kaufman came first. >> we're four brothers, lots of children and grandchildren. the family's been very close for generations. >> and pretty soon aventura was a magnet for a bigger kaufman family. including these two, the twins, adam and seth kaufman. identical. like two halves of one person. set tried to explain the day adam cut his finger. >> we were both screaming. my mom said seth why are you crying? i said because it hurts. and it was adam's finger.
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i truly do believe we feel each other's pain. >> they were teachers first. big teachers. for little kids. >> we started teaching pre-k because there were no jobs available. >> trying to imagine you with little kids. >> like kindergarten cop. but it was a lot of fun and also rewarding. >> but teaching bnt pay the bills. so they joined the family business, real estate development. though frankly they looked more like wrestlers or bar bouncers, big athletic men. and it turned out, suckers for love. >> she was my soul mate. we had an instant connection. >> adam fell first for a remarkable young woman named eleonara though everybody called her lina. russian roots, met adam and decided he was the twin for her. and he -- >> i knew right away that this
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was the girl i wanted to spend the rest of my life with. >> what did she do for you? >> she is absolutely spectacularly beautiful, she's a head turner. she's got class. and you have this poor schlub from new york. i had to jump on the opportunity. i did my best and something worked. >> what would people think when they saw you and lina walking down the street? >> happy. happiest time in my life. i had everything i ever wanted in a woman. caring, loving, giving. she was my best friend. >> they got married in march 2000. before long they had a girl and a boy, a nice house in a gated community, a big extended family they saw all the time. and as adam's mother elaine saw it, a remarkably happy and untroubled relationship.
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>> there was just so much harmony in that marriage. he absolutely adored her and she adored him. she would tell me all the time. you know, he's so cute, mom. >> if i said lina, the guys want to go out tonight and grab a drink or go get a steak. no problem. go. i mean, there was never an argument about me spending time with my friends. there's really nothing i would have changed about our relationship. nothing. >> then it was seth's turn. >> here comes this brazilian girl who is loud. >> that was riqelle. they became inseparable. >> on the weekends we were together. we traveled together. restaurants, everything. family events. it was the four of us. >> it's like you had a sister too then. >> yes. yeah. really did. i mean, we truly talked about and enjoyed everything together.
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everything. and it had to be that way. because adam and seth, they're so close. >> so you get the picture. it was a sweet spot in life, twoo sweet, too perfect to last. it was november 6, 2007. lina was to be a bridesmaid so she got her first spray tan to look her best in the dress. hours after that is when it came crashing down in an instant and this big happy family suddenly plunged into a very dark place. it was a little after 6:00 the next morning, said adam kaufman, when he woke up and realized lina wasn't next to him in bed. he walked into the bathroom, he said. and there she was. >> and i go to run to her and it's just in slow motion as i'm going to her. and i touch her and she's cold. i'm screaming lina, lina, wake up. >> that's when he made that frantic call to 911.
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>> please, please, my wife is in the bathroom dying. i don't know what's going on. >> he was hysterical. >> sir, i need you to calm down. i can't understand what you're saying. >> my wife is in the bathroom. she's on the floor dying. i don't know what's going on. >> okay. she's not breathing? >> no. >> a million things are going through my mind. all i'm focused on is getting her help. >> please, please. oh, my god. oh, my god. >> the 911 operator tried to instruct him in cpr. but it wasn't working. 23 minutes went by that way. >> you know how many times in your life seconds feel like minutes? this felt like hours. >> then the medics finally arrived, shoed adam out of the way, started working on lina. adam called his brother seth. >> adam was on the line frantically screaming my name.
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get over here quick. lina's not breathing. >> seth and fiance riqelle raced to the house as the meds pushed and prodded and did everything to coax life back in her body. >> adam was pacing back and forth saying oh my god my kids. he says to me please go to my kids. >> riqelle got the baby from the crib and went into the 4-year-old's room. >> she was on the floor playing with her toys and she said did mommy ask you to babysit me because she wasn't feeling well? i said yes, baby. >> lina was being rushed out of the house and to the hospital but they could not save her. and adam was a mess. destroyed. what on earth had happened to lina? and the big question, did someone close make it happen? when we come back, you know where this is going. a husband now under suspicion.
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you've lost half of you. your soul. your heart. i couldn't believe that that was true. >> adam kaufman insisted he had no idea what killed lina. she was so active, seemed so healthy.
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how could a 33-year-old go to the bathroom at night and just drop dead? didn't make sense to the emts either. something didn't look right. which is why detective anthony ancolo was called in to look at this murder mystery. even a rookie knows a husband is always a potential suspect when a wife drops dead and certain things about adam's story that morning seemed off. >> i mean, the whole scene together for fire rescue was like, this is not adding up. >> and it wouldn't to chief attorney kathleen hoge either. some responders said he saw adam fully dressed when they arrived. >> nobody sleeps fully dressed. even down to the fact at the
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hospital itself one of the officers recognized he had his cologne on or watch on. >> like he'd been out all night or something. >> or at least up. >> and they noticed the car felt warm to the touch like he'd just been driving it. >> being warm lends it to being driven. >> and when the detective looked in the bedroom, did his eyes deceive him? or was one side of the bed undisturbed as if it hadn't been slept in? so what was adam's story about how he found his wife in the bathroom again? turns out, it was a little unclear. >> he told the first captain that he went into the bathroom and saw her slumped over the toilet. after that he made a statement where he said that she was slumped over the magazine rack. >> the other way? >> yes. >> strange. isn't that what guilty people do? change their stories?
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more than anything it was something on lina's body that just might tell what happened to her. some nasty looking bruises on her neck. those and other signs of trauma suggested that her death wasn't of natural causes. it looked like she'd been strangled. >> something has happened which has cut off the air supply and creates the pressure as such that you get these, you know, marks in your eyes. >> when somebody has caused their airway to be closed. >> uh-huh. >> in other words, doesn't happen just by itself? >> not usually. >> so the picture coming together was not an unexplained mysterious death. but that of a husband that snapped. the panic on the 911 call could be a man realizing he just had done the unthinkable. >> this man ended up strangling his wife, freaked out over what he did. didn't necessarily mean to do
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it, but it happened because he's twice her size and a whole lot stronger than she is. and whatever set him off, set him off. >> but did they arrest him? no. that, if it happened at all, would have to wait for an autopsy report. hard evidence. and so ten days after lina's death when seth and raquel went ahead with their wedding, police were paying attention. >> in judaism in particular, we celebrate life before death. >> adam was there. made a speech, even cracked a few jokes about his brother. >> and he just wanted for his brother, his twin brother, to have somewhat a good time at his wedding. >> but looked at another way, it seemed to the police somehow suspicious. as it did when a couple months after lina's death, adam seemed to be dating again.
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so they kept an eye on him, and waited for the medical examiner to issue his autopsy report. waited for months, a year, longer. this was not like some slick miami tv show. bureaucracies don't move so fast in real life. but then it was april 2009. quite suddenly, decision day. coming up, was lina kaufman murdered? >> they pointed out the suspicious markings on her neck. >> or is there another explanation? something to do with that spray tan? >> complained of seizures by people w
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17 months after that desperate november morning that
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adam kaufman claimed he was still in the dark, no clue he said, as to how his lina died. he said dozens of calls to the medical examiner's office went unanswered. so he called though board to complain. >> very nice guy. he said mr. kaufman, i will look into it, take care of it, get back to you as soon as possible. >> and the next day there was a ruling on the cause of lina's death. but no one told adam. not yet. it was a week later a sultry tuesday evening. adam was working at a new ice cream shop he and his brother opened up. >> in walked police. and that was not uncommon. police always frequent our shop. and i looked back down. and i see red dots on my shirt. all over my shirt. i look back up and then i see about 15 police officers,
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s.w.a.t. officers, in the store. there he is, and they're pointing me. i'm like, me? they jump over the counter, throw me to the ground. i'm like what's going on? in walks a gentleman, plain clothes. comes up to me and said, leans down while i'm on the floor and says remember me? >> it was detective anthony angulo asking the question. the one poking around the house the morning lina died. among the first to be suspicious of adam's story. >> he says i don't want you to say a word. real nasty. he says you're under arrest for the murder of your wife. again, time froze. and i said are you kid -- total shock and disbelief and awe. i mean, this is not happening. this is a joke. this is a nightmare. am i having a nightmare? >> the medical examiner had ruled the cause of lina's death was mechanical asphyxiation.
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that she'd been choked to death. and now adam was being charged with murder. he was taken to the dade county police. locked away. >> i thought this couldn't be happening. >> but it was happening. days turned to weeks, weeks to months. reality sank in. he was accused of murder. >> what was your confidence level or lack of it as you were sitting in the jail waiting? >> i was sitting there saying when will they realize what happened? they're going to find the cause of death and that's going to release me. i was waiting for that. it didn't come. >> for the past year and a half, the children had no mother, now they had no father. finally after adam had been in jail three months, his attorneys arranged a bond hearing. and as so often happens in florida, it turned into a mini trial. the state finally presenting its evidence against adam.
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this big strong man, the other only adult in the house when lina dies strangled her to death and covered it. the state played that 911 call in a courtroom packed with adam's family. many of whom were hearing it for the first time. >> please, please. my wife is in the bathroom dying. i don't know what's going on. >> as the tape continued to play, one family member couldn't take it and passed out. >> there's a nurse attending, so i think you should proceed. >> this was raw stuff. seldom seen in miami courtrooms. the first witness was detective angulo who revealed he'd been investigating adam ever since that very first morning. >> i examined the body. present were a couple of other officers. they pointed out suspicious markings on her neck. >> and there was something else. >> i did observe what i believed to be petechial hemorrhaging in the eyes.
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>> and what indication does that suggest to you? >> asphyxiation. >> asphyxiation, death by suffocation. detective angulo said he was sure he had gotten his man. had been suspicious since he talked to adam at the hospital. >> he seemed angry. i saw his jaw muscles clench. but it was strange going from being upset to angry. >> and where had adam kaufman been earlier that night? not sleeping, investigators thought. remember, his side of the bed looked to them undisturbed. but on lina's side, there were unusual smudges. >> the staining appears to be on the pillow itself and just below the pillow where the body would lie. >> they said from the spray tan she got the previous evening when she wanted to look her best for seth kaufman's wedding ten
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days later. police seized on that evidence. and perhaps without tending to, made their case famous overnight. they called in a former chief medical examiner in miami-dade county. >> in your investigation, had there been complaints of seizures by people who had undergone spray tans? >> yes. >> do you believe that the spray tan material should have been investigated for potentially causing an allergic reaction? >> oh, sure. i mean, we don't know exactly what happened to mrs. kaufman. we know that she collapsed. we know she asphyxiated. but we don't know why any of that happened. and certainly there's a real possibility that that could have been caused by this exposure to the tanner. she's got it all over her hands. it certainly raises the possibility of an allergic reaction caused by that. >> she gets her first spray tan the night before she passes
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away? why not investigate it? stranger things have happened. it was negligent on their part not to test it. >> it became known far and wide as the spray tan defense. the idea that lina's death might have been caused by an allergic reaction, one more ridiculed than serious consideration. >> it was almost comical. >> but they had a point. i mean, it was never tested, right? to see whether or not there was some possibility that that could have caused it. >> there was testing done for the heck of it after that. even the doctor they put on the stand could ascribe to that theory. i mean, i guess it sounded sexy, but it wasn't feasible. >> the judge was not persuaded either. adam would stay in jail too. no bond. his family was devastated. twin brother seth left in tears. but shortly after that hearing in one of those rare moments, the judge had a change of heart. it was just after father's day.
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>> the judge said -- he used the term i had a catharsis. he said i'm going to let this boy go home to his kids. it was a great day. >> except adam would have to wear an electronic ankle monitor. a stark reminder he was not a free man. that the real trial was yet to come. when we come back, evidence about marks on lina kaufman's neck and torso. marks her best friend said she didn't see the night before when she showed off her new tan. >> she took off her jacket. >> yes. >> was she nude? >> yes, she was. >> did you notice any marks on her body at all? >> no. >> when "in an instant" continues. i'm done! "are you a cool mom?" i'm gonna find out. [ female announcer ] swiffer wetjet's pads are better than ever.
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death, adam was surrounded by his protective family including his identical twin seth. the family was terrified. adam was facing up to life in prison if convicted. >> i was really worried. because bottom line is that the fate of my twin brother rests in the hands of 12 people i don't know. >> dade county assistant prosecutor joe mansfield methodically laid out the state's case for the jury. there was only one possible way to explain the death. >> the results of mechanical asphyxiation to her neck and the defendant, her husband, is the one that did it. >> the evidence would be scientific, medical. but he wanted jurors to keep in mind. adam kaufman was the only adult home at the time of lina's death, giving him the opportunity to kill her. and with his bodybuilder
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strength, the wherewithal too. and adam couldn't keep his story straight, he said. the first evidence was from the 911 call when he said she was on the floor. >> she's not breathing? >> no. she's on the floor dying. >> but a fire rescue attendant said adam told him he found her somewhere else in the bathroom. >> he told me that he found her slumped over the toilet. and communicated that if she was vomiting, kneeled in front of the toilet with her head down in front of the toilet. >> but later at the hospital said that same emt, he heard adam saying something else entirely. >> why did you take note of that third version? >> because it was completely different from the other story he told me. this time he mentioned the patient being slumped over a magazine rack. >> kathleen hoge supervised the case. she wanted people to know about
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his behavior that morning. and called a firefighter to the stand. >> he went from hysterical to calm. >> his demeanor or emotions fluctuated? >> yes, ma'am. >> from hysterical to calm? >> yes, ma'am. >> and there were those other unusual things that they couldn't help but notice like how they'd seen adam kaufman dressed. not at all like someone who said he just woke up. >> it stood out for me that mr. kaufman was completely dressed. and he was just doing cpr, how did he have shoes, clothes on, and why is she completely naked? it just didn't sit right, didn't seem normal. >> if as adam said he'd been home all night, why was the front of his mercedes warm to the touch? >> i put my hand on the hood and i felt it was extremely warm. >> and of course there were those marks on lina's neck and torso. they were fresh to the prosecutor. they weren't there the evening before when she showed her best friend her spray tan.
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>> she took off her jacket? >> yes. >> was she nude? >> yes, she was. >> did you notice any marks on her body at all? >> no. >> an aventura police officer gave a description of the indentations he found on her neck. >> it was consistent with fingertip sized markings. >> and they called a witness who had been key to the investigation that morning. crime scene investigator anna howell. she testified about what she saw on lina's hands. >> the nail polish on her middle finger and index finger were chipped. >> were those chipped nails sign of a struggle that morning. then they called who they decided was the most important witness of all. the medical examiner who determined lina's cause of death. >> what would be the manner of death? >> homicide. >> why would it be a homicide? >> because this mechanical asphyxiation could only occur at the hands of somebody else. >> somebody else? >> yes, somebody else. >> just to be sure there was no
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doubt lina was murdered, they provided evidence she couldn't have died of something like heart failure. they called the plastic surgeon who gave her breast implants months before her death. >> she was a healthy patient. >> they wanted to prove adam wasn't that distraught after the loss of his wife. so they called a woman he dated two months after her death. >> you commented about his wedding ring? >> i did. he said that his wife had passed. and i said so when do you think you're going to be ready to take that off. >> at some point did you become intimate? >> yes. >> but as the state's case began to wind down, prosecutors would have no idea what would stick with the jury. any more than they knew that their star csi witness was about to blow up on them. >> isn't it true, ma'am, that you previously had an intimate
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sexual relationship with detective angulo? coming up, fireworks from a witness. and from the victim's mother. and is the prosecution's case about to completely unravel? when "dateline" continues.
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>> the way adam kaufman's attorneys saw it, prosecutors put on a great show for the defense. >> you will hear that this is a prosecution in search of a crime. an innocent man has been falsely charged with a crime that did not occur which he did not commit. >> no crime at all, said the defense attorney. certainly not murder. the deference's claim? that lina blacked out, collapsed, fell neck first on to a magazine rack, mishaps that cut off her air flow and caused her death. a theory he could have proved easily if it hadn't been for incompetent investigators. for starters, he said, lead detective anthony angulo ordered anna howell to disregard a key piece of evidence. >> he told you to specifically not take those items into custody is that right? >> correct. >> the magazines were the key to
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the mystery, said the defense. they would have proven that lina fell there. because they would have been stained by had her fresh spray-on tan. >> i think the failure to collect the magazines in and of itself could constitute reasonable doubt. you never fail to take in to custody evidence. >> the fact was police were so determined that misread the scene entirely, he said. for example, when howell told the court she found chipped polish on lina's nails. >> the nail polish on her middle finger and index finger were chipped. >> the detectives suggestion? that lina's husband attacked her and she fought for her life. but they hired their own to look at the bathroom space. >> did you find any signs of a struggle inside the house? >> i found nothing that would
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indicate anything like that. >> but to be fair, said the defense, howell wasn't the only one who screwed up that morning. >> i put my hand on the hood and i felt that it was extremely warm. >> a police officer said the hood of adam's car was warm to the touch. but the defense answered of course it was warm. it was locked in a garage on a hot miami night. evidence of nothing. >> mr. kaufman was completely dressed. >> prosecutors said they tried the same attack with the workers. they said he didn't look like a man rolled out of bed. they insisted he was fully clothed. and yet that's not what the very first responder on the scene witnessed. >> i saw a man on top of a woman attempting what looked like cpr. >> what was the man wearing when you entered the room? at that time he was wearing boxers and a t-shirt. >> what those others likely saw, said the defense, was adam's identical twin who arrived at
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the house perfectly dressed minutes after that 911 call ended. >> i had no reason to change my opinion whatsoever. >> but what really stuck in the craw of adam's lawyers was that medical examiner who ruled lina's death a homicide. why did it take him a year and a half to call that? because, they said, he was pressured into it by police. on cross examination, co-counsel ripped into the doctor. >> detective anthony angulo had been pushing you to rule it is a homicide, is that correct? >> objection, your honor. >> that's not true and you know it. >> and they used the photos for its own theory. that she died accidentally. >> there are these marks on the undersurface of the chin. these match the spines of the magazine in terms of a contact mark. >> this former medical examiner testified for the defense that the pressure on her neck would have clearly blocked her air
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flow, killing her. but it was why the defense said lina collapsed, that was the real shocker. >> these cells should not be here. >> the doctor said he took apart lina's heart and found scarring. >> this is active focal myocarditis. >> heart disease. the doctor explained to the courtroom that lina likely had no idea how sick she was until her heart suddenly gave out that morning. and then just for good measure, the defense called someone else with star power to the stand. >> suggestive heart failure and all that -- >> dr. michael bodden. the examiner and frequent medical expert in high-profile murder cases reviewed her autopsy file. and said to him there was no question about it. >> there was no murder. she died of natural causes. >> even lina's own mother tried
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to tell police the suffered frequent fainting spells before her death nap it may have been an accident. but they wouldn't listen. >> how many calls were made to the detective trying to reach him. >> my son, my ex-husband, and myself had called there. i assume it was about 25 calls. maybe more. >> it was something you rarely see. a grieving mother defending the man accused of killing her daughter. she said adam was and is like a son to her. >> did you love adam? >> like my own son. >> and as happened a number of times during this trial, a state witness wound up winning points with the defense. >> adam's so-called love interest, for example. though it wasn't quite like that. yes, they dated for awhile, but adam wasn't going to get deeply involved, she learned. >> adam wasn't emotionally available. which he always made very clear
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from the very start. >> finally, one last loose end. remember csi anna howell? earlier she testified that she, a married woman, had only a working relationship with lead detective angulo. >> when you'd been off duty you socialize with detective angulo? >> no, sir. >> no? >> but the very next day she was called back to the stand. and had to admit she hadn't told the truth. >> you had misrepresented your relationship to this jury on the stand under oath, isn't that strew? >> it wasn't part of the case. >> yes or no, ma'am? >> yes. >> thank you. >> in fact, the two had had an affair. >> are you married? >> yes. >> did you have an affair with detective angulo. >> yes. and my husband is well aware of it. i am happily married and i have no issues with that. >> and she said the old affair never affected her work. and with that she stormed out of
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the courtroom. to the defense it was clear she and angulo were in cahoots. the detective who never took the stand in this trial could not be trusted. in his closing, the lawyer said it was adam who was the real victim. of a lousy police investigation. >> they bungled this investigation beyond recognition causing the false charges to be lodged against him in this case. >> but there was one person the court didn't hear from who maybe married most. adam kaufman. he opted not to take the stand in his defense. but he wanted to speak to us. >> the problem with this case comes down to one word. investigation. a rookie detective working his first homicide, a fellow in the medical examiner's office not doing a thorough autopsy.
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>> more infuriating, he said, was the prosecutor's claim saying she was only standing by him to see her grandchildren. that outraged lina's mother. one of the prosecutors in the closing went after your family and basically said that your mother-in-law was a captive of your family, could do nothing to express her real opinion because otherwise she'd be left out in the cold. >> how dare he. go after lina's mother. lina's mother who bravely came in that courthouse and stood up for the son-in-law that's charged with second degree murder of her daughter. >> his mother-in-law's show of loyalty was striking, but would it be enough? to impress the jurors and save adam? coming up --
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>> i know i had the truth on my side. >> it was strangulation. the proof is there. >> we the jury of miami-dade
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nearly five years had passed since lina kaufman's death. and now her husband adam was about to learn his fate at the miami courthouse. two possibilities now. an immediate handcuffed escort to spend up to the rest of his life in prison, or instant and permanent freedom in the arms of his family. >> i had my entire family there with support. that's why i was able to walk into that courtroom every day holding my head up high. because i knew i had the truth on my side. >> but prosecutor kathleen hoge felt her side provided the real
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truth. that he strangled lina to death after an argument that morning. >> there was a strangulation. the proof was there. it didn't happen by itself. >> now adam and his twin brother seth and the family all watched in anticipation as the judge sent the jury in to deliberate. >> the jury may retire. >> i just wanted a fair trial. because i knew once all the evidence was presented, that there's no way that 12 people can sit there -- i don't care who you are -- >> they were gone. they were out of the room. nothing to do about it. >> nothing you could do about it. >> jurors said they were ready for the task ahead. jennings was a court mediator making him a natural pick for foreman. >> did you make the vote right away? >> not exactly. we went through the evidence and deliberated. >> here is the actual jury room where we can see how they literally weighed the evidence. >> i drew three scales on the chalk board. to the far right would be broken
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of innocent and to the far left broken as guilty. i said you have to fit in one of these. so we focused on that. >> they paid attention to the conflicting testimony from the medical examiners. and the jury was determined to listen to the 911 call one more time. very carefully. it's much easier to hear from the confines of a jury room where there's 12 of us around the laptop. it had been a month since we heard that call. i think it was imperative to hear it. >> please please. my wife is in the bathroom dying. i don't know what's going on. >> when they listened, they said a man wasn't changing his stories but was simply beside himself and utterly confused. >> when you first hear it in the opening. he said i don't know what's going on over and over again. when we listened to it during the end in the jury room, you think this is a terrified man that has no idea what's going on. >> and after eight hours of
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deliberation, they reached their verdict. >> we jury of miami-dade, california, find as follows. the defendant is not guilty so say we all. >> adam's family and friends burst with emotion. >> so what was that like? >> i tell you. i didn't hear her reading it. i put my head down. all i could think about were lina and my kids. i hear not guilty and i hear crying in the back. that's it? it's over? it's over? it's over. finality. >> later, adam and seth pose for pictures holding the jury charge sheet with those words he longed to hear. not guilty. the very words miami prosecutors had dreaded. they'd spent a huge amount of resources on this case. and lost. and the jury foreman told us he believed the case should not have gone to trial at all. >> why did the state bring this
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case to trial? when there's such evidence that said no, don't do this. adam kaufman is innocent. he's not not guilty. adam kaufman is innocent. >> i don't apologize for the case. i'm not going to. >> but you believe a murderer has gotten away with it? >> he's not the first one. he won't be the last. that guy, he pays a lot of money for a defense and he got it. and he's a very lucky man. >> given what he's been through, lucky might not be the word adam would use. still, he says he's not angry, not bitter. >> i can only move forward. i can't move backwards. i can only move forward and do the right things for my family, my children, myself. >> and as for the team that tried to put him away -- >> the discovery that the people who were looking for evidence against you had been actually having an affair and couldn't be relied on to tell the truth. >> that's right. >> what was that like?
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>> poetic justice. things happen for a reason. i'm a firm believer of that. lina's spirit was definitely with us during this trial. she was watching over it. >> lina. he will always remember lina, he said. and the love he lost in one instant that november morning. >> where do you put her now? >> she's with me every day. every day. you know, there's not a day that goes by that i don't think about her. the kids think about her. she'll always have a place in my heart. we have pictures of her all over the home. our wedding photos, just pictures of her. so the children will never forget who their mother was. and is. and she's still a very big part of their lives. every day. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us.
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this morning on "meet the press," the pressure is on as mitt romney stumbles and the president is widening his lead six weeks before the election. where is the debate headed? romney looks for a comeback. washington cannot be changed from the inside. >> he said he can't change washington from the inside. we are going to give him that chance in november, he's going outside. >> romney's worst week of the campaign after the release of the 2011 tax return and the infamous recording from a fund-raiser. our debate this morning about the 47%. taxes and government dependence with two top surrogates for the
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candidate. devalue pat trick and republican senator from new hampshire kelly. our political round table. under fire. what is the turn around plan? are romney's troubles overstated and what to look for as the candidates prepare for the debate? with us, senior adviser for the republican campaign and host of morning joe, joe scarborough, david brooks and democratic strategist dee dee meyer. chuck todd on what the polls tell us about the race. announcer: from nbc news in washington, "meet the press" with david gregory. good sunday morning. election day is 44 days